Let’s tap solar energy, says ex-oil minister

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A former energy minister of Saudi Arabia said yesterday politics played a more important role in global oil business than the rule of law, and accused a ‘Super Power’ of torpedoing efforts to bind oil consuming and producing countries into a legal relationship years ago.

He said consuming countries were now focusing on developing alternative sources of energy and the day hydrogen could be used as a major energy source the era of oil would end.

Efforts to develop alternative energy sources are causing immense uneasiness among oil producers. They are now increasingly talking of security of demand as opposed to the earlier talk of security of supply by consuming countries, said Sheikh Ahmed Zaki Yamani.

The Paris Conference convened at the Saudi initiative in 1974 to discuss the above issue failed as a ‘Super Power’ did not want it to happen, Yamani said in a veiled reference to Washington. And now that oil producing countries are talking of security of demand and the other side (consumers) wanting to get rid of them, their mutual interest has disappeared.

Yamani called on consuming countries to instead work in cooperation with oil producers to develop solar energy as an alternative to oil. “We have enough solar energy. We can cooperate.” Oil is a much hated commodity worldwide. It is considered ugly and seen causing climate change, so people want to get rid of it, Yamani said.

The demand for oil has been stagnant in Europe for more than a decade and has rather decreased and the US policy is to cut down on its use. “So I don’t see any necessity of security of demand, not during recession in the US. The only countries oil producers can ink supply deals are, perhaps, the emerging economies like China and India,” he said.

Yamani later in the day spoke at a panel discussion on ‘International Organizations and the Economic Crisis’ at the ‘Qatar Law Forum,’ interestingly moderated by a former US Undersecretary of State for Economics, Ambassador Al Larsen.

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